Creating in the GREAT OUTDOORS!

As Maryde I am an Artist!

As Marianne Theresa I am a writer!

Now these two creative vocations can be done just as well indoors as out. As long as you take your equipment with you … the possibility is endless ….. SO YOU MIGHT THINK! Let’s talk about painting Outdoors firstly.

The Mountains

Painting Plein Air, taken form the french term, en plein air, which means *painting in the outdoors* was very big during the time of the impressionists in the late 1800’s. The idea was/is, to capture the landscape or subject in the pure-light. The best times of day for an artist looking for that special scene/view  is when the sun is about to rise – till probably mid morning, the stark newness of day offers an artist the very best, as the sun is at it’s best delivering a unique quality of vibrant light. The same can be said from late afternoon to dusk. Those wonderful long shadows, the blend of the sun going down for the close of day, the spray of rays as the sun disappears behind the clouds. Who today, has not enjoyed a sunrise or sunset and not been effected by the glorious explosion of colour and dramatic light changes as that great ball of fire disappears from sight. Magnificent?

In the days of the *old masters* (before 1800’s)  there were no cameras & paints were not made to endure well out of doors, therefore most artists would sketch & draw their subjects or landscape-views directly onto their canvas or board, or on note paper/book, making lots of notes on the colours, light placement, surrounding vegetation or building texture etc. But much of the final artwork took place back in the studio.

Like most artists I have painted Plein Air and I’m afraid it is not as glamorous as it seems. 1st there is the lugging of equipment, cause you can bet the best spot is not right by a picnic table. You literally cannot haul everything in your paintbox at home, because it would be far too much … but what you do have to take is quite a list…. what with an easel  paints, canvas/board & paper, cleaning & medium liquids, rags, stool, sun-hat, cream …… lunch!! And the list goes on. Then once at your spot and you’ve set up providing it’s not raining (or .. if you want the weather effect, then you must find it under shelter or umbrella) there is the string of on-lookers who are curious/interested and mean well but are taking up your precious few hours of light to get down as much as you can before it is lost to you. Being that we live in the Great Land down under, there is the matter of the living0outdoors! The bugs: flys,  mozzies, creepy crawlies who are not only attracted to the bare skin of your sweaty person, but flock by the 100’s, attracted to the stark white of your canvas or paper. So you need to get the colour on as quick as you possibly can. But as your work progresses, then come the Kamikaze Insects. Those who are over come not only by your wonderful talent of art, but by the delightful fumes from your turpentine & Oil mix, and proceed to commit suicide right on your board!                                             Sailing high - Copy

After awhile, the pains of trying to immerse the tiny corpses into the dappled leaves of sap-green or fed up with picking them off the melding blues of your horizon where the sea and sky meet, has taken more of a toll on your once exciting excursion , that you pack in your rags and equipment and you pull out your trusty digital camera. You take a few 1000 pictures from every angle and with  one good last look, then you track all the way up to the top of the cliff to the car park, load your stuff and drive home. to the peace and tranquility of the studio.  The Landscape still gets painted and through your visual memories and photographs a Masterpiece emerges!

NOW…. As to the WRITING out doors. I have done this occasionally and encountered not quite as many draw backs BUT enough that it brings painting outdoors to mind. You are limited with your creative-muse by the mere fact that you are deep into your WIP and then that little Exclamation mark appears in the bottom right hand corner saying the power is low… recharge! You may not have a spare Battery for your PC or available plug-in power therefore all creative thinking must come to a halt—for the time being. It doesn’t matter that you were on a roll and the frustration that causes while you re-hook up or traipse indoors. There is the fact that the light can play havoc with your screen vision, your eye vision, the beautiful coloured  lorikeets eating the pine nuts nearby (which would be perfect if you were painting) and their endless screeching at one another as you are trying to think. The pet that comes to see what you’re doing every few 10mins or so, needing their share of attention. In summer the flies are still gawking around your eyes, face, legs and hands, while in winter your fingers are warm and cozy stuffed inside woolen gloves but you need to correct your work time and time again because one finger is now the size of a fish-finger.My writng spaceMy Art space 1

So… where do I do most of my creating  ……. in my Art Room & Writing room.

OH yes there is much to be said for taking creative work to the GREAT OUTDOORS…. but be aware…. that it is not always what it is cracked up to be …

My Art space

Why no share with us where your creativity mainly takes place?


5 thoughts on “Creating in the GREAT OUTDOORS!

  1. It’s great to see you creative space. I love to write outdoors while my kids play, but you’re right that little red flashing ! really is an enemy to the creativity. So I usually sit at the kitchen table looking out the back window at the mountains. It’s my compromise.

  2. Fabulous post Marianne. Agree outdoors is a wonderful source of inspiration / creativity surge if you can handle the wildlife :). Love your writing / painting space too. My view out the window is the house next door, so I have to use my immagination 🙂

    • I hear ya Suz, if I look out my writing window I see the grey expanse of concrete drive and a grey colour bond 8ft fence, not that encouraging either. 🙂
      Hence why my desk faces a corner surrounded by lovely visions and motivation… but then … that depends on what you see through your neighbour’s window… lots of room for imagination there … LOL

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